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Thursday, February 23, 2012

This Week in History: Washington Monument and a Christian Application

I can remember when I was a young teenager going on a family vacation to Washington D.C. I was amazed by the towering Washington Monument. I can remember that it towers at the top of the D.C. skyline. As a child I was disappointed that it was closed for remodeling as I would have loved the opportunity to go to the top. The Washington Monument is an amazing structure constructed for an amazing man who did so much for our country. Have you ever wondered about the history behind the monument, or wondered why they decided to make a monument for Washington?

It was in 1783 (yes, even before Washington was president) that the structure was first proposed and when the city of Washington D.C. was designed the designer even left room for the structure. George Washington died in 1799 and they discussed a memorial at that time for him but once again never actually put one in motion. In 1832 at the 100th anniversary of the birth of George Washington they finally decided to build him his monument. Robert Mills, an architect, was chosen for the project and he came up with an Egyptian Obelisk design. On July 4th, 1848 the cornerstone was finally laid. The construction of this monument was held up by politics in the 1850's however, and then by the Civil War in the 1860's. At last in 1876 Congress finally passed legislation that would allow the monument to be finished. On this week in history in the year 1885 the Washington Monument was finally dedicated. The monument was the tallest structure in the world when completed and although it is no longer the tallest structure in the world remains the tallest structure completely built out of stone.

When great men do great things our society honors them for this. We build monuments, statues, make holidays,name streets, buildings, and cities after those who do great things for our society. We show how thankful we are for their service. The greatest man who ever walked this earth was Jesus Christ. No man has done more for mankind. After all it is through Jesus that we can have salvation. How do we show our thankfulness to Christ? I would suggest that the best way to show your thankfulness to Christ would be to give your life to him and live for him everyday through what the Bible tells us to do. The Bible tells us in Romans 12:1 "I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship." The kind of worship that the Bible is talking about here is the latreo kind. This kind of worship talks about a worship that serves. This is a worship that must be lived out. Are you living your life as a "monument" to Christ. If not why not start today?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Acts, and letters to the Romans and Corinthians

Last week I started an article series on the books of the Bible. I hope that it was beneficial to your study and will continue to be as we look at the next four books in the New Testament.


Author: Luke, the Physician (Luke was probably the only non-Jewish writer in NT, and also wrote the gospel of Luke).

Audience:  Theophilus (Acts 1:1); In all probability he was also writing to the Gentile believers.

Purpose of Book: The purpose of the book of Acts is to continue where Luke left off in his gospel (Acts 1:1-3). The book goes on and tells about the church and how it will function after Jesus ascended. In many ways the books serves as a link between the gospels and the epistles.


Author: Paul, the apostle (Romans 1:1), and Tertius was used to transcribe his words (Romans 16:22).

Audience: Those in Rome

Purpose of Book: To show that salvation is offered through the gospel of Christ (Romans 1:16-17).

1 Corinthians:

Author: Paul, the apostle  and Sosthenes (1 Corinthians 1:1).

Audience: Church of God in Corinth, and to those sanctified in Christ Jesus (1 Corinthians 1:2).

Purpose of Book: The apostle Paul had founded the church at Corinth on his second missionary journey (Acts 18). Since that time the church at Corinth had become involved in things that no Christian should be involved in and had several questions about what they were supposed to do as Christians. Paul is sending this letter to try to help them get back on track, answer their questions, and put Christ back as their focus.

2 Corinthians:

Author: Paul, the apostle, and Timothy (2 Corinthians 1:1).

Audience: Church of God at Corinth, all Christian in the whole of Achaia (2 Corinthians 1:1b).

Purpose of Book: In his second letter to the Corinthians, Paul uses the letter to expresses his relief that the Corinthians had received his letter in the manner that he wanted them to. He then goes on to address some issues that were tearing the church apart, such as false apostles and teachers and defends his own work.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

This Week in History: Valentines Day and Spirituality

Editor's Note: This will be a new feature of the blog. I will have a weekly historical item that happened this week in history with a Christian application!

History tells us that on February 14th, 278 A.D. a priest by the name of Valentine was executed. Emperor Claudius II was in charge of Rome at the time and had decided that marriage and engagements were hurting the military might of Rome. Claudius believed that the love that the men who would have been joining his military had for their significant other, was causing them to refrain from becoming a soldier. As a result Claudius banned ALL marriages and engagements. Valentine continued to perform marriages in secret as he believed that an injustice was being done by the Emperor Claudius. Claudius found out about it and that became the death of the man, Valentine, and later would become the start of what we call Valentine's Day. The Catholic Church made Valentine a "saint" after his death, and in approximately 496 AD Pope Gelasius declared that Valentine's Day be celebrated every February 14th.

Today, Valentine's Day is known as a holiday of relationships. It is a holiday in which we are supposed to show how much we care about those in which we love! It seems significant to me that we celebrate a man who stood up for the love and relationships that those in Rome had for one another. It brings the thought to my mind of whether we would be willing to stand up for our love and relationship to our God! I wonder whether we will have the same conviction to do what is right as Valentine did. John, the apostle of love said in his book, "This is love for God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome (1 John 5:3)." I hope that this Valentine's Day you will evaluate your love in the relationship that is most important, the relationship that we have with God. I hope that you will look and see if you are keeping his commandments in your life, and choose to live your life in a way that shows your love for God. Now you know a spiritual application that you can think about on Valentine's day. I hope that your relationship with God is a match made in Heaven which is accomplished by doing what God in Heaven has directed.

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things (Phillipians 4:8)."

Love is not merely a feeling. "Being in love" moved them to promise fidelity: this quieter love enables them to keep it. - CS Lewis

Note: I don't condone the religious beliefs that Valentine held nor of the Catholic Church, however I do condone his stand for things that are just!

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Gospels of Christ

I believe that it is extremely important to know what is in the word of God. It is helpful in Bible study to have an idea of the background of the books of the Bible. For the next several weeks my goal is to do a string of articles giving a quick overview of the books of the Bible. This week we will start with the gospels. I hope that these will be useful to you in your personal Bible study.

The Gospel according to Matthew
Author: Matthew aka Levi, the tax collector and apostle.
Audience: Jews  
Purpose of Book: To show that the Old Testament has been fulfilled; Jesus is the Messiah, the King of the Jews.

The Gospel according to Mark
Author: Mark, aka John Mark. This is the same John Mark who went on the 1st missionary journey with Paul and dropped out.
Audience: Romans
Purpose of Book: To show Jesus as the suffering servant, to call the readers to action.

The Gospel according to Luke
Author: Luke, the Physician (He wrote his book in chronological order, and was probably the only non-Jewish writer in NT).
Audience: Theophilus (Luke 1:3), Greeks
Purpose of Book: To show that Jesus came to seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:10).

The Gospel according to John
Author: John, the Fisherman, apostle and brother of James, the apostle. John wrote 5 books in New Testament.
Audience: Gentile Christians
Purpose of Book: “but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name (John 20:31).”

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

“Spontaneous Gesture”

The Super Bowl. The game where everything is bigger than life. The commercials, the halftime show, the things at stake. They are exquisite, insightful, numerous, and costly.

They call it the “wardrobe malfunction”, and now the “spontaneous gesture”. It seems there is always something happening during the Super bowl halftime show. In fact, there has become such an aura around the halftime show that this year Madonna promised that there would be no “wardrobe malfunction”. What she didn’t promise was that it would be clean. During the halftime show there was a “spontaneous gesture” as it is being referred to. There was also cussing. During this period of the super bowl there were over 8000 tweets/second from with mixed review of what was happening. I thought it was insightful what was said by one individual, “Can we all stop pretending that #MIA flipping the finger during the halftime show is offensive in 2012?” We live in a world that is becoming more and more indecent, and acclimated to this behavior. As those striving to follow God this becomes a challenge for all of us, while also providing a great opportunity. Think about it:

We have the opportunity to let our lights shine brighter and brighter. As the world does more and more indecent things, and becomes more and more acclimated. People are going to wonder why Christians don’t act indecently, but decently. They are going to notice our behaviors as they stand out more and more. We will be able to make a bigger and stronger impact as we act in ways that are godly and not expected.
Yet, in order to make this happen we have to let those lights shine. We have to be careful not to get caught up in the things of the world. We must instead conduct ourselves as Christ would. We must avoid participating in the obscene gestures, and speech that flood our world. We must avoid hiding our light and instead let that light shine and give light to the world that we live in.

Jesus said it best: You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that[a] they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.